SEASON OF JOY A Contemporary Christmas Musical of Praise

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1 SEASON OF JOY A Contemporary Christmas Musical of Praise By Deborah Craig-Claar This script was created for churches that may wish to perform Season of Joy as a contemporary evening of praise. (This is an alternative approach to the traditional Celtic Christmas script printed in the back of the choral book.) This contemporary approach utilizes a Host and two Readers. Audience participation is emphasized through the use of responsive readings that are created from familiar carols and Scripture. Although a specific text has been written for the Host, you are welcome to make the script your own and have the Host speak spontaneously. Additional performance resources and production notes for this script can be found on this web site. Participants Host (Worship Leader) Reader 1 Reader 2 Setting: The sanctuary is decorated in the holiday decor of your choice. It is assumed that a large media screen will factor prominently into the platform configuration and be used for lyrics and the responsive readings. There should be two permanent places for the Readers; these can be tall stools or podiums. The Host should be able to move freely about the platform and perhaps the congregational area. A Celtic Christmas Overture Direct segue to "Christmas Pipes" Christmas Pipes with O Holy Night and Good Christian Men, Rejoice HOST: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth! (Psalm 100:1, NIV) READER 1: Worship the Lord with gladness Come before Him with joyful songs! (Psalm 100:2, NIV) READER 2: Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His court with praise! (Psalm 100: 4a, NIV) HOST: Let heaven and nature sing!

2 ALL: Joy to the world, the Lord is come! HOST: Christmas! The very sound of the word brings a joy like no other. We can't wait for the season to arrive, then hope it will never end. It brings memories of Christmas past, and wishes for Christmas future. It is the sound of a single child laughing, and the entire world singing. It is...and always has been...the season of joy. So tonight we gather to celebrate joy. We have met in this place to lift our praise, raise our voices, and worship God's most precious gift, His Son Jesus Christ, who was born to bring us everlasting life! READER 1: Joy to the world! READER 2: Joy to the world! ALL: Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Joy Has Dawned Upon the World with Angels We Have Heard on High HOST: The season of joy began long ago before stables and stars and angel songs. It began in the solitude of a stone temple, with bowed heads and upraised hands. It began in the pages of ancient parchments and the petitions of midnight prayers. READER 1: "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned." (Isaiah 9:2, NIV) READER 2: "Lift up your eyes and look about you Your light...has come." (Isaiah 60:4a, 1b, NIV) CHOIR & CONGREGATION: O come, o come Emmanuel. READER 1: "And you, Bethlehem though you are small...out of you will come a ruler... [whose] greatness will reach to the ends of the earth." (Micah 5:2a, 4b, NIV) READER 2: "Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The Virgin will be with Child and give birth to a Son and will call Him "Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14, NIV) CHOIR & CONGREGATION: O come, o come Emmanuel. READER 1: "When the time came... [Mary] gave birth to her firstborn, a Son." (Luke 2:6-7a, NIV) READER 2: "She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger " (Luke 2:7b, NIV) CHOIR & CONGREGATION: Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel! Has come to thee, O Israel.

3 HOST: (more reverent) Rejoice. Rejoice. Emmanuel...has come. Once Upon A Christmas HOST: And so Jesus entered our world. Not with the thunder of heaven, but with the gentle lullaby of a young mother s heart CHOIR & CONGREGATION: All is calm. All is bright. O holy night. HOST: He did not come to us with wealth and worldly position, but in poverty and humility. CHOIR & CONGREGATION: All is calm. All is bright. O holy night. HOST: He did not come to conquer; He came to set us free. ALL: All is calm. All is bright. O holy night. HOST: (with great awe) O holy night. The Wexford Carol with I Wonder As I Wander READERS 1 & 2: Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let earth receive her King! CHOIR & CONGREGATION: Let every heart prepare Him room! READER 1: In the desert prepare the way for the Lord (Isaiah 40: 3a, NIV) READER 2: Make straight in the wilderness a highway for our God Isaiah 30: 3b, NIV) CHOIR & CONGREGATION: And heaven and nature sing! READER 1: Every valley shall be raised up (Isaiah 40: 4a, NIV) READER 2: And every mountain and hill be made low (Isaiah 40: 4a, NIV) Let earth receive her King! HOST: Come and join the heavenly host and make the earth resound with praise! Raise your hands! Lift your voice! I bring you good news of great joy! Your Savior is born!

4 The Carolin' Reel includes Joy to the World, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, Deck the Halls, and O Come, All Ye Faithful HOST: Glory to God in the highest! CHOIR & CONGREGATION: Gloria in excelsis deo. READER 1: Come to Bethlehem and see Him whose birth the angels sing. READER 2: Come adore on bended knee Christ the Lord our newborn King. READERS 1 & 2: (gently) Gloria in excelsis deo. HOST: (also gently) In excelsis deo. How quickly and beautifully praise turns to worship in the presence of holiness. Come. Approach the manger. Bow with the shepherds and the angels. We are on hallowed ground, and have come to worship the Lord of Lords. Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) READER 1: O come, all ye faithful. CHOIR & CONGREGATION: Joyful and triumphant. HOST: The call of the manger has been issued; the invitation of the solitary star has gone forth. CHOIR & CONGREGATION: Come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem. READER 2: Come and behold Him, born the King of angels. CHOIR & CONGREGATION: O come, let us adore Him. HOST: And so the faithful came. Magi from the East found their way to the holy Child. They recognized Him as the King whose coming had been foretold, and they bowed down and worshipped Him. Two righteous servants of God named Simeon and Anna, had waited their entire lives for the promised One to come. When they beheld the small baby in His mother's arms, they recognized him as their long-awaited Messiah, and Simeon cried "My eyes have seen your salvation." (with direct focus to the audience) And now how will you respond? Will you recognize Him? Will you call him your salvation, your Messiah, your King? Will you...come? How Suddenly A Baby Cries (with Narnian Reel) HOST: And this is Christmas. That God loved us so much, He sent us His Son, so we might believe in Him, and know life everlasting. This is Christmas. This is love. This is joy to the world.

5 Jesus Saves (The Pastor or Host may offer an invitation or prayer at this time if so desired.) HOST: The joy of Christmas cannot be contained; it has a voice that cannot be silenced! CHOIR & CONGREGATION: Repeat the sounding joy! HOST: A lost and weary world is waiting for the truth of Christmas. Who will bring them this amazing grace? If not us, then whom? If not now, then when? CHOIR & CONGREGATION: Repeat the sounding joy! READER 1: Faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26b, NIV) READER 2: We live by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7, NIV) HOST: We will share our joy to the world! ALL: Repeat the sounding joy! By Faith HOST: Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth! (Psalm 100:1, NIV) READER 1: Worship the Lord with gladness Come before Him with joyful songs! (Psalm 100:2, NIV) READER 2: Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His court with praise! (Psalm 100: 4a, NIV) HOST: Let heaven and nature sing! ALL: Joy to the world, the Lord is come! HOST: Please pray with me. (A prayer is offered here for the specific church and community.) In Christ's precious name, amen. HOST: And now, as we prepare to leave this place of celebration and rejoicing, we share a special Christmas blessing with you. We pause to remember the cherished words of the season: Peace

6 READER 1: Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts (Col. 3:15a, NIV) HOST: Love... READER 2: We love, because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19, NIV) HOST: Hope... READER 1: Christ [be] in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27b, NIV) HOST: Joy... READER 2: And your joy be complete (John 16:24b) HOST: Yes, may your joy be complete this moment, this night, this Christmas and every day forward. Joy to the world... ALL:...the Lord is come. An Irish Christmas Blessing

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